IRELAND has failed to meet international criteria to cope with the internet applications of tomorrow.
A new global survey released yesterday revealed that the country has made improvements in terms of broadband speed connection, ranking 13th out of 72 countries worldwide.
But we failed to make the grade when assessed for our ability to meet the hi-tech communications services of the future, according to an annual broadband survey commissioned by internet giant Cisco.
Fourteen countries are already prepared for the "internet applications of tomorrow" which include high-definition internet TV and high-quality video communications services.
These hi-tech services are expected to become mainstream in just a few years time but our broadband system is not yet ready for them.
On a positive note, Ireland jumped from 16th place to 13th in the broadband leadership ranks, ahead of France, Canada, the United States and Britain among others.
The international study was carried out by a team of MBA students from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo's Department of Applied Economics, and sponsored by Cisco, which makes much of the core equipment on which the internet is based.
Communications Minister Eamon Ryan welcomed the survey and noted that Ireland was also grouped among the top 10 "broadband movers" since 2009, with 88pc broadband penetration, an 11pc increase on the previous year.
"This improvement is a reflection of the Government's progressive broadband policy, which encourages collaboration as well as competition. In the last two years, Ireland has seen a spike in broadband improvement, bringing to an end the legacy of underinvestment of the early 2000s," he said.
The study showed that global broadband quality has improved by 50pc in just three years and penetration of broadband continues to improve, with about half of the households (49pc) of the countries investigated now having access to broadband (up from 40pc in 2008).
Using the data from 40 million real-life broadband quality tests conducted in May-June of 2010 on the internet speed testing site, the researchers were able to evaluate the broadband quality of 72 countries around the globe.
Researchers concluded that 48 countries are meeting the requirements to enjoy all the major services offered by the internet today, as well as not so demanding applications, such as instant messaging.
This adds 10 countries since 2009, and 18 since 2008, despite the fact that global internet traffic volumes rose by 166pc from 2008-2010.
The 14 countries leading the way in terms of internet broadband capability are: South Korea, Japan, Latvia, Sweden, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania, Lithuania, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Iceland. This is up from nine countries in 2009.